The Grammar of Schooling

Free essays 0 Comments



TheGrammar of Schooling

Grammarof schooling involves patterns of school structures, culture andhistory. The grammar of schooling basically refers to a system inwhich children undergo a social selection that classifies childrenaccording to their successes and failures. The system involvesteaching the same academic curriculum to pupils and categorizing themthrough exams.

Thegrammar of schooling gives a well built curriculum for carrying outdaily tasks for teachers and students. In my school days we wouldfollow a curriculum. The curriculum often entailed subjects taught atspecificied times by different teachers. Each teacher would follow agiven course outline and students were to learn and followinstructions issued by the teacher. According to Tyack &ampTobin,principles guiding the grammar of schooling determine and depict thebehaviour of the actors`.The basic agenda in grammar of schooling isthe division of time and space, classification of students,breakingdownknowledge into subjects and issuinggrades as proof oflearning.(Tyack &ampCuban, 1995). For example, in school, every endyear we took exams before moving to the next grade. Usually thosepupils who failed were not permitted to move to the next class.

Thereis a possibility of achieving reforms even with Grammar ofschooling.Tyack and Cuban, state that, “Better schooling willresult in the future – as it has in the past and does now –chiefly from the steady, reflective efforts of practitioners who workin the schools and from the contributions of parents and citizens whosupport (while they criticize) public education …). Today, we cansee several types of school have come up that are not based on thetraditional learning system i.e. art school, music school to mentiona few. However, all these different types of schools still carry outselection by means of grading. The traditional system of grading isstill strongly held. Reforms are not easily achieved as stated byTyack and Cuban, ‘the hold of traditional practices on teachers andstudents is strong, often with good reasons.` (1995).

Grammarof schooling doesn’t help us understand the necessary adaptationsof school organization. It focuses more on school contents henceneglecting part of the educational dimensions.

Depaepeand Hulstaert research showed that the grammar of schooling was aguide to “…uniform complex of actions with the objective offorming and disciplining the students or pupils”. There is nodemocracy in the system.


Depaepe,M. &ampSmyers, P. (2008) Educationalization as an OngoingModernization Process, Educational Theory, 58, 379-389.

Tyack,D. &amp Cuban, L. (1995) Tinkering toward Utopia – a Century ofPublic School Reform. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Tyack,D., &amp Tobin, W. (1994). The “grammar” of schooling: Why hasit been so hard to change? American Educational Research Journal, 31(3), 453–479.